Having on-screen characters that reflect diverse individuals is essential to the progression of cinema. We are now seeing tons more women, LGBTQ people, and people of colour on our screens, as well as more representation of the realities of mental illnesses. In addition to this, there has also been an increase in characters with physical disabilities. Although many of these characters are played by able-bodied actors, it is still a step forward to creating characters that reflect reality. Here are some of my faves:
- Gazelle (Kingsman Secret Service)
Gazelle, the assistant to Richmond Valentine, is key in helping Valetine eradicate mankind. Equipped with two lethal prosthetic legs, she kills her enemies with ease. Played by Sofia Boutella, Gazelle is a true bad-ass.
- Walter White Jr.(Breaking Bad)
Our favourite meth manufacturer’s son! Actor RJ Mitte has cerebral palsy in real life, although his condition is much less severe than his on-screen character, and does not walk with crutches.
- Clyde Logan (Logan Lucky)
Adam Driver stars alongside Channing Tatum in the summer’s greatest heist movie. Losing half an arm while fighting in Afghanistan, Clyde still manages to pull off breaking in and out of a prison, robbing a racetrack, and avoiding capture all in one day.
- Toph Beifong (Avatar: The Last Airbender)
Blind since birth, Toph has dealt with bullying and taunting her whole life. Toph ended up being one of the most powerful of her time when she discovered metalbending. Upon discovering earthbending animals that are also blind, she learn how to use earthbending as an extension of her senses.
- Jake Sully (Avatar)
Jake Sully suffered a spinal injury during a battle in Venezuela. The injury was so severe that it left Jake paralyzed from the waist down. Jake is a skilled and resourceful warrior who adapts to his environment, owing to his former occupation as a Recon Marine.
These characters are only the tip of the iceberg, and hopefully there will be many more to come, especially being portrayed by actors with physical disabilities in real life. Come on, Hollywood! We know you can do it!